SCS Global Promotes Local Philanthropy and Self-Reliance
FHI 360

In March 2020, SCS Global released a new resource that is part of our Development Practitioner Resources series: Local Philanthropy and Self-Reliance, which focuses on the role of local philanthropy as a means to contribute to Financing Self-Reliance (FSR), one of the four pillars of the Journey to Self-Reliance. The development of this resource was inspired by the SCS Global Learning Forum, “Integrating Local Philanthropy into the Journey to Self-Reliance,” hosted by USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) Center in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation (AFK) and FHI 360 in April 2019.

Local Philanthropy and Self-Reliance unpacks the concept of local philanthropy and provides an overview of the ways USAID Missions and other donors can foster local philanthropy in their partner countries. The resource notes that Missions are well positioned to assist in FSR through investments that promote and enable community philanthropy, either through stand-alone assistance programs, such as the Yetu Initiative in Kenya, or by incorporating relevant activities into existing programs.

Recommendations for donors supporting community philanthropy from Local Philanthropy and Self Reliance include:

  • Take direct actions to convene stakeholders; advocate at the policy level; and share expertise, networks, business contacts, and global experience with local actors. One way to do this is through existing donor coordination groups.
  • In forming partnerships, invest in philanthropy support organizations and networks that work in a locally rooted and responsive way. Consider support to community funds/foundations.
  • Be prepared to encourage partners to engage in experimentation and trust-building with communities and stakeholders; this requires offering flexibility to partners throughout the program cycle.
  • Use grant funding strategically. Build in matching funds and challenge grants that incentivize and reward local organizations’ and communities’ asset mobilization efforts.
  • Support research and learning on local giving and support policy and governance interventions that encourage philanthropy.

For additional recommendations and examples and best practices for each, please download the report here.

Local Philanthropy and Self-Reliance was featured in the virtual panel discussion, “The Untapped Power of Local Philanthropy,” the first in the DRG Center’s new virtual “DRG Tipping Point” series. Featuring David Jacobstein, Democracy Specialist, and Lauren Kirby, Senior Civil Society Specialist, with SCS Global consultant Megan McGlynn Scanlon, the discussion explored how promoting local philanthropy can help ensure local buy-in, generate trust and strengthen the sustainability of joint efforts to help countries advance on their journeys to self-reliance.